From DevOps to DevEx: Empowering the engineering experience
In the evolving technologies, the role of tech talent in businesses still persists. The anticipated global developer population, nearing 29 million in 2024 surpasses the entire population of Australia.
However, despite this growth, developer productivity remains optimal, with only 30% to 40% of their time dedicated to feature development. The adoption of Agile, DevSecOps, and cloud engineering has become mainstream, enhancing speed, quality and cross-functional collaboration.
A new strong point is emerging for companies dedicated to attracting and retaining top tech talent: Developer Experience (DevEx). This developer-first mindset prioritizes every touchpoint software engineers have with the organization to enhance day-to-day productivity and satisfaction.
Industry leaders are in consensus that a positive developer experience yields improved end-user and customer experiences, prompting a shift from measuring speed and quantity to providing the right tools, platforms, and feedback mechanisms.
Metrics such as time-to-first pull request, backlog changes, and defect ratios are taking precedence over traditional measures. The shift from decentralized teams to pod structures formalizes collaboration across engineering, user experience, cyber, risk, quality management, and product teams. Companies investing in DevEx report a notable impact on profitability, with 81% acknowledging moderate or significant positive effects.
The demand for engineers caused by the COVID-19-induced digital transformation has led to a surge in global spending on digital transformation, expected to reach US$2.51 trillion in 2024.
Software development job growth is anticipated at 25% within the next decade, significantly surpassing the 8% average growth rate for other professions. Notably, only 10% of new software developer roles are concentrated in tech companies, emphasizing the widespread need for digital goods and services across industries.
Organizations, both in government and commercial sectors are adopting developer experience practices to attract and retain developers. Practices such as continuous integration and continuous deployment pipelines, "shifting left" to adopt automation and testing earlier in the software development process, and full-stack engineering are being implemented.
Despite the demand for software developers, many companies face roadblocks hindering developer productivity and satisfaction, including time spent on configuration, tool integration, and debugging.
The challenges that engineering leaders encounter in designing leading developer experiences call for a holistic change. A comprehensive DevEx focuses on platforms and tools, ways of working and flow, and talent experience.
The transition from DevOps to DevEx emphasizes a cycle where developers empowered with the right tools and culture enhance productivity. A thorough framework, considering all aspects of developers' impact, is crucial.
Leading organizations are creating one-stop platforms for developers, providing access to source code, documentation, and tools. The future of DevEx lies in integrated intuitive tools, enabling a thoroughly integrated technology landscape aligned with business strategy.
The journey toward a new developer experience extends beyond the technology division. With the right platforms, processes, and culture, the aspiration for "10x" engineers becomes achievable.
As generative AI advances, hindrances may diminish, empowering engineers to focus on cutting-edge innovations. The groundwork laid in establishing a new developer experience goes beyond technology, potentially transforming all employees into low-level engineers, emphasizing the increasing centrality of technology to business operations.